2021 Acura RDX vs. 2021 Buick Encore

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/06

The RDX has a standard Collision Mitigating Braking System, which uses forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Encore offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature that would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.

The RDX Advance has a standard Surround-View Camera System to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Encore only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the RDX and the Encore have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

The Acura RDX weighs 425 to 831 pounds more than the Buick Encore. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, its standard vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its standard headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the RDX its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2020, a rating granted to only 32 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Encore is not even a standard “Top Pick.”

Engine

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The RDX’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 134 more horsepower (272 vs. 138) and 132 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 148) than the Encore’s 1.4 turbo 4-cylinder.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Acura RDX is faster than the Buick Encore:

RDX

Encore

Zero to 30 MPH

3 sec

3.8 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

7 sec

11 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

4.9 sec

6.7 sec

Quarter Mile

15.5 sec

18.3 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

95 MPH

77.1 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/06

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the RDX’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Encore doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The RDX has 3.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Encore (17.1 vs. 14 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Environmental Friendliness

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/06

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Acura RDX higher (6 out of 10) than the Buick Encore (5). This means the RDX produces up to 6.9 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Encore every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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A 10-speed automatic is standard on the Acura RDX, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Encore.

Brakes and Stopping

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/06

For better stopping power the RDX’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Encore:

RDX

Encore

Front Rotors

12.4 inches

11.8 inches

Rear Rotors

12.2 inches

10.6 inches

The RDX stops much shorter than the Encore:

RDX

Encore

60 to 0 MPH

116 feet

126 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

129 feet

134 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/06

For better traction, the RDX has larger standard tires than the Encore (235/55R19 vs. 215/55R18). The RDX A-Spec’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Encore (255/40R20 vs. 215/55R18).

The RDX A-Spec’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Encore’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the RDX has standard 19-inch wheels. Only 18-inch wheels are available on the Encore. The RDX A-Spec has standard 20-inch wheels.

The RDX has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Encore doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

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For superior ride and handling, the Acura RDX has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Buick Encore has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The RDX has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the RDX flat and controlled during cornering. The Encore’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The RDX offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Encore’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the RDX’s wheelbase is 7.7 inches longer than on the Encore (108.3 inches vs. 100.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the RDX is 3.5 inches wider in the front and 4.1 inches wider in the rear than on the Encore.

The RDX AWD handles at .81 G’s, while the Encore AWD pulls only .72 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The RDX AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.4 seconds quicker than the Encore AWD (27.2 seconds @ .64 average G’s vs. 29.6 seconds @ .54 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the RDX has a 2 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Encore (8.2 vs. 6.2 inches), allowing the RDX to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Passenger Space

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The RDX has 11.2 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Encore (104 vs. 92.8).

The RDX has .8 inches more front legroom, 3.3 inches more front hip room, 5.5 inches more front shoulder room, 2.6 inches more rear legroom and 4.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the Encore.

Cargo Capacity

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The RDX has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Encore with its rear seat up (31.1 vs. 18.8 cubic feet). The RDX has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Encore with its rear seat folded (79.8 vs. 48.4 cubic feet).

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the RDX’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Encore doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the RDX. The Encore doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the RDX has a standard power liftgate, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button, or on the RDX Advance, by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The Encore doesn’t offer a power liftgate.

Towing

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The RDX has a 1500 lbs. towing capacity. The Encore has no towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/06

The RDX uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Encore uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Acura service is better than Buick. J.D. Power ranks Acura 6th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 9% lower rating, Buick is ranked 8th.

Ergonomics

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/06

When two different drivers share the RDX, the memory system makes it convenient for both. Each keyless remote activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations. The Encore doesn’t offer a memory system.

The RDX’s standard easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Encore doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The RDX Advance has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Encore doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The RDX’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Encore has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.

The RDX’s front and rear power windows all open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Encore’s passenger windows don’t close automatically.

If the windows are left open on the RDX the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Encore can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The RDX has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Encore doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The RDX’s standard speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Encore’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the RDX detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Encore doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

When the RDX is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Encore’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The RDX’s standard rear and side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Encore doesn’t offer the luxury of automatic dimming mirrors.

The RDX has standard heated front and second row seats (second row heated seats on Advance) extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated seats aren’t available in the Encore.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the RDX keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in Summer. The Encore doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the RDX’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The Encore doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The RDX’s standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The Encore doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

The RDX’s standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Encore doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.

Both the RDX and the Encore offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the RDX has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Encore doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the RDX has a standard Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Encore doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Economic Advantages

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/06

Insurance will cost less for the RDX owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the RDX will cost $305 to $1035 less than the Encore over a five-year period.

The RDX will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the RDX will retain 51.11% to 51.6% of its original price after five years, while the Encore only retains 34.79% to 38.48%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the RDX is less expensive to operate than the Encore because typical repairs cost much less on the RDX than the Encore, including $91 less for a muffler and $402 less for a timing belt/chain.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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